Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot- 10 of Swords: Ruin & The Barbara Walker Tarot-10 of Swords: Ruin.
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot- 10 of Swords: Ruin & The Barbara Walker Tarot-10 of Swords: Ruin.

The Tarot of EliThe Thoth Tarot- 10  OF SWORDS & The Barbara Walker Tarot-10 of Swords:  are both called RUIN, or Lord of Ruin as Crowley names it. Here, the Sun is in Gemini, greatly diminishing the stability of the Sun. This makes it hard for the individual of this Sun sign, to concentrate upon any given subject as their tendencies are vagueness and  irresponsible, and such is the disaster of the 10  of Swords.


The Angels of the Decan, are Dambayah and Menqal.
The Ten of Swords is Malkuth in Yetzirah, the Astral World.[for more information on angels, see Crowley's books:777 and Book of Thoth]

For Material things, this is the most destructive card in the deck and most people dislike seeing it in a spread; However, those who know and use the Tarot as a instrument of Divination, understand that as in Astrology, "the stars impel, they do not compel".
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Since, by focusing our thoughts, we have the capacity to improve our life-motion, we should do just that. Ethically this is no less moral than resigning a position when one sees that there is a work related disaster on the horizon. What moral is broken, when one is told by the cards," That if you walk  in the street you will be struck by a motor vehicle", and that person now chooses to walk on the sidewalk instead? Divination helps us make focused choices. We should use the capacities we are given, as we are not Slaves of any destiny outside of  our own making.
However, this destiny control, requires us to "Above all things, Know thyself", and to be an Active Personality, Rather than  a personality of reaction, made by our environment; a reactionary presence that is controlled by peers, or cultural definitions makes our destiny that of Ruin, as our performance is always "after the fact".
The Ten of Swords Ruin, also implies, "the Horse is already out of the barn", and closing the door is a band-aid, not a solution. The 10 of Swords is traditionally viewed as the most dire card in the Tarot deck. Which is why the 10 of spades, in playing cards, is often viewed as a death card. Besides being the harbinger of the most dire illness, worst of afflictions, ruin, desolation and pain, this card also represents the nadir of fortune, and/or some kind of martyrdom. Such martyrdom is displayed on the Barbara Walker Tarot 10 of Swords. Depicted on her card, is the Celtic Story of the virgin-born savior-hero Cu Chulainn, who died bound to a sacred phallic pillar while being pierced by many blades. Sounds much like the later Christian Christ version of martyrdom. Yet even before the revisionism of Christianity, Cu Chulainn, appeared in a stone temple in Knockmay, Galway, as a young god bound to a tree and pierced by arrow. This image also appeared throughout Gaul, giving rise to the legend of St. Sebastian (picture on right), as is often the case, he was no real saint but a new name for the old statues of the dying god.[Spence,85]

Since this is mental ruin in the physical plane, it's best to focus on what you are thinking; pay attention! For your thoughts create no others, nor their definition! Your thoughts create only your interaction of the I AM (will) and the body-Me which we call life! Remember, your thoughts, once given emotion, are the operating fulcrum of your Life-Motion, they create your destiny! 
For a fulcrum to operate efficiently, a rigid base is a necessity. Thus, as in a "personality, which is a mechanism of the Mind, if the mechanical (personality) Fulcrum (thinking) must devote most of its energy trying to hammer out a permanent way of movement (overcome negative thought), while trying to overcome the counter motion of a "wobbling base", i.e. an uncertainty of Self, the outcome for proper performance is bleak indeed. This is the message of the 10 of Swords.
Again, I cannot over state the necessity for "Above all things, know thyself"! Each of us must understand, that by thinking ill of ourselves or of another, we only supply our body with ill thoughts that confuse our performance and ruin our destiny! There is only one energy, that cannot be destroyed or created, only transformed and transmitted. It is transmitted through the body as a psychosomatic force. Therefore, your thoughts, emotions, and reactions, are all you!

 Again, The Divinatory meaning of the TEN OF SWORDS is ruin, death, failure, and disaster. Since this card is Swords in the 10th Sephiroth- MALKUTH (Earth) it is more of an objective death card than Key 13-DEATH, of the Major Arcana. DEATH, key 13, is more of a situational death, a transformation, whereas, #10 Ruin, is a "personal disaster" waiting to happen or the beginning of recovery from one that already has. When and if this card shows up in the "house and Home" or "Beneath you" position in a Celtic Cross reading, go get a thorough physical check up from your doctor and focus on your physical and mental health; mental health because you may need a "personality tune-up" and this is a warning that its time to pay attention to how you perceive the world.
However, in this case, thankfully, 10's are notoriously short lived, as they are an end of a cycle, and soon a new cycle begins, So a 10, can also mean, the pain you are going through now is on the mend, especially if you are recovering from a physical or mental injury, where your movement has suffered a "ruin", but by focused perspective, you are aiding your recovery. A ten is 1+ 0=1, which is the number of Kether, on the Tree of Life, thus a cycle of the Tree ends, and a new one "down the Tree" begins. 
The Thoth-Ten of Swords-Ruin: is
the picture of a  divided mind, so is the paradox of double edged swords!

The 10 of Swords indicates not only a disaster but also a new hope, a new direction born out of ruin and despair. Thus, the necessary ruin to start something new. Therefore the 10 of Swords card represents a mental conclusion, long sought, with much ruinous thinking becoming a mental struggle which has rent asunder our plans and left us in an insomniacs mental paradigm.

The 10 of Swords implies that one may have reached a conclusion that things are just not going to work out in two areas of one's life.
  1. Things of the heart (lower half of the image) as shown by the pierced heart.
  2.  And areas of finance as shown by the  scales at the top of the card.
There is a caution here, for realization of ruin, may cause you to feel a deep fear of "things not Working out" which only insures that they don't. So begin anew in another direction. Much like the driver of a car, that see's a flaming wreck up ahead, and a police blockade, its time to take a side road.  

The Astrological sign of this card is Sun in Gemini. Individuals who have their Sun in Gemini, are very gifted at synchronizing paradoxes, polarities, and/or oppositions thus they are able to  look at all aspects of a situation, balancing the positive and negative aspects. This need to balance everything, can also produce a deep heart-felt fear about the issues of finance, relationships, and creative initiative. With powerful facilities of any kind, we have the Great Creative Pendulum of the Imaginative Mind that can swing from positive motion to negative motion right at the apogee of creative endeavors. When we are powerfully imaginative, we must also exercise powerful discernment, concentrating our emotionally thoughts on what we are doing rather than what we fear.  By thinking joyfully of the journey towards our goal, rather then concentrating stress to achieve it, one is avoiding the negative swing right when we can see successful endeavor looming past the hills of labor and fear loosing it before we get there.


The Hermetic Tarot- Ten's, in every suit, represent Malkuth-Kingdom- which is the lowest Sephira on the Tree of Life; lowest as in position, not in value.

Malkuth is the Earth, the sacred physical/objective world, and the 10 of Swords, represents the unadulterated energy of mind, confined to the lowest microwave frequency- the most condensed -sensory based consciousness on earth.
 The animal survival brain, is indeed the Ruin of all Hu-man thought. Hu-is Mandarin for "god" and Man, comes from the Hindu-Manas, meaning "Mind", hence the survival mind interferes with Image-making, and/or Imagination, the creative god-mind. Therefore, represents the survival ego has taken over the "mind" and is ruining all mental progress with ruinous fear based thought.

The Ten of Swords, represents reason gone mad, the logic of lunatics, or for the most part, the reasoning of philosophers who divorce their reason from reality.

To further illustrate this scattering of reason, this card is ruled by the Sun in Gemini.  Gemini's mercurial-airy quality disperses the rays of the Sun and disrupts the harmonious and stable energy, as does the atmosphere of Earth.

The position of the Sword Hilts on the Thoth card, are as the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. However, the central Sword, which represents the Sun ("Heart", Soul/Christ-Buddha intelligence), is shattered by Swords 1 through 5, as well as, by swords 7-9 .  The Tenth sword represents the intellect with it's moral qualities shattered as well. Thus, we know the 10 of Swords is depicting Intellectual Ruin, by baser and/or lower  thought.

The heart, which also represents the Higher Thought of the Psyche (Soul) is pierced and in ruins as well, dampening down, weakening, and corrupting the creative impulse. The 10  of Swords, therefore, consuls the personality to purge the brain of unworthy thoughts and ideas that corral the creative impulse so that it putrefies into malice.

As you may have gleaned from this and previous blogs, the number 10 is the culmination of the unmitigated energy of the idea. In this case its "all Mental" and shows reason run mad; as Crowley put it in his Book Of Thoth, the 10 of Swords represents: "a ramshackle riot of soulless mechanism". It represents the logic of philosophers and lunatics and for the most part, it is reason divorced from reality".

For instance, the philosopher says,"Thou shalt not kill." which is divorced from reality. Reality states that we must kill (even vegetation) to eat and a Mother and Father must sometimes kill to protect the family, for without family---there is no future! So the
statement "thou shalt not kill", should say, "Thou should not murder for the visions of ambition, ( of Politicians and theologians etc.) be they personal or governmental". For any man and woman worth their salt, will kill to protect their family and to eat! That is expected in this Natural Universe where "life eats itself to stay alive"! Therefore there is a fine line between philosopher and lunatic; between genus and insanity.

The Barbara Walker Tarot-10 of Swords- Ruin, besides depicting the martyrdom of Cu Chulainn, also illustrates the image of the Celtic Crone Goddess. Just like the modern understanding of the Feminine Trinity of Maid, Mother and Crone, the Irish had a trinity goddess. This Irish "Queen of Phantoms", was the third feminine manifestation of, Ana, Babd, and Macha; Maid, Mother and Crone. 
These three also appeared in legend as the triple Morriagan or the Three Sorceresses of Mab (Mabd), who were the ones who sentenced Cu Chulainn to death.
The Crone was also the Bean-Sidhe (Banshee), know as "woman of the barrow-graves". Emerging from a barrow-mound, she called men to their deaths. Although feared, when she loved whom she called, her call was said to be"...low, soft chant giving notice indeed, of the proximity of death but with a tenderness that reassures the one destined to die".[Pepper & Wilcock, 275]. Since the dying god, was as the sun, dying in the dark of night, reincarnating in the morning, the 10 of swords also suggests a new birth of hope out of despair. That is the reasoning behind the Dark Crone, Macha, being depicted as pregnant.

When the Ten of Swords is thrown, the querent is experiencing or will be experiencing:
  • In a period of 10 weeks or 10 months, Cruelty and Malice towards others.
  • A feeling of Ruin, because of a oppressive feeling of over-bearing strength applied to selfish ends.
  • Revenge, injustice, ill-will, lying etc.  
  • Maybe a death in the family.
  • A life threatening illness, either mental or physical.

However, if the accompanying cards are well dignified, the Ten of Swords implies:
  •  Generosity, self-sacrifice, and even disinterestedness on the querent's part.
  • Just the fact that the querent acknowledges this mind set, will begin the process of changing it.
  • Recovery from a life threatening illness.
  • There is disaster warning, because of the undisciplined warring force unleashed by fear-based thinking which self destructs in the mayhem created by an army of unbalanced ideas.
  •  With the lower mind being over-power by the Fiery E-motion (Will to Force) of the Solar Soul, ruin of all plans and projects is common place, as well as, disdain, insolence and impertinence are common expressions.
  • There is often a misplaced display of mirth as one overthrows the happiness of others.
  • The querent will find that their brain is a repeater of things that have never worked in the past, and won't now.
  • The brain will often repeat many impoverished words, such as "swear words", but doing so cleverly, and eloquently, in order to hasten the character assignation of others.
This card alone, is ill-dignified; However, if the accompanying cards are all well dignified, this is a  1 week or 1 month card of indignity, and the personality is well aware of the need for a change in perspective.
  • The querent maybe tired of nonsense programming and is seeking away to fix it. The rest of the cards in the reading will show the querent how to get out from under the tyranny of fear based thought, and accelerate away from the lower thought processes. Here, the wisdom and intuition of the Tarot reader comes into play and aid is easily given.

Therefore the positive of this 10 card reminds us:
  • That with positives comes negatives and vise verse, while also indicating that in the next 10 weeks or 10 months, we will have the capability to experience and resolve negative thinking about both finances and things of the heart.
  • Especially your fear of ruin about relationships with Gemini people in your life (May 21 to June 21). You may feel fears of things not working, or  " I know this is not going to work" and are cautioned not to believe them and just concentrate on what you desire to happen.
  • There is a positive here to understand, and that is just when we are about to achieve our goals, great fear of not achieving them shows up. So when that fear is experienced, you may now know it as a positive sign that a little more effort is needed to "get over the hump" towards successful pursuance of your dreams.
  • When fear of ruin is seen as a stepping stone, its debilitating effect is greatly reduced and we are almost there; where ever "there" may be. 
  • Ruin is often necessary to recycle and rebuild.
  • Swords reminds us of the conundrum of the mind....that if you think with great self power, you can also be powerfully self destructive. This is the paradox of the Artistic personality. Knowing that these moods of creative joy swinging into heart felt fear only means we are a very creative thinker, can help us to avoid being a victim of our own powerful oracle that is imagination.
  • Ruin can also be a death card, when linked with one or more of the other death cards (The Moon and Death of the Major arcana).



For more information about the Qabalistic Thoth Tarot Deck, online classes, or for a personal insight filled reading, either on line or in person, email Eli < info@eli-lsmerchantile.com>.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!



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